Aligning the Organization for Asset ReliabilityIn aligning the organization, there are three questions to address.
- Which job positions?
- What are the role expectations?
- How is position performance measured?
Determining Your Maintenance StrategiesMost organizations have no or a very limited basis for their preventive or predictive maintenance program other than the OEM manual. The reality is that unless the OEM has field service technicians, many do not have the data to understand the failure modes of their equipment. The vendors that supply them don’t have it either. You should have the failure data from your CMMS history, but that is never shared with them typically. Oh wait, you don’t have it either, right? Do you have good failure data in your CMMS? Our experience from asking for the information when doing RCM2 or RCM3 and FMEAs across the globe show most don’t have the necessary details. We find that organizations are doing too much time-based preventive maintenance. In many cases, those same organizations are issuing multiple PMs for a given period on the same asset, i.e., on a weekly or monthly basis. Many of these PMs are the result of knee-jerk reactions to past failures and are not from a root cause perspective. I have seen as many as 10 separate PMS for the same weekly PM frequency on the same machine. Sadly, most of these PM tasks (40-60 percent from RCM2 studies) fail to address any likely failure modes. Most organizations in the top percentile of performance do only about 20 percent of their physical maintenance based on time. Moreover, intrusive maintenance introduces failure to an otherwise stable system at the rate of 70 percent or more. In his book, Don’t just fix it, improve it, Winston Ledet says that 84 percent of failures are due to poor work behaviors. The essential point is that to be effective, there must be a basis such as reliability-centered maintenance (RCM2, RCM3, or FMEA) that couples proven methods along with your equipment experience to define a maintenance strategy. These asset reliability strategies will be a combination of condition-based, time-based and predictive technologies. As part of the analyses, you will also determine failure modes that must be addressed from the perspective of training, standardized procedures or re-engineering. Once these strategies are defined, they are implemented in the CMMS and triggered for execution. When failures occur, a root cause (RCA or RCFA) process should attempt to identify the root causes. The maintenance tasks and strategies should be reviewed to ensure the likelihood of preventing or mitigating the consequences of failure. If changes are required, follow-through must occur to ensure asset reliability.
The MRO StoreroomA vital component to ensuring effective work execution and improved asset reliability is a well-managed MRO storeroom or materials management process. The reality is that most storerooms are either models of excellence or very poorly executed. There does not seem to be much middle ground when it comes to an organization’s storeroom practices. Materials should be identified and acquired in advance for planned work. These materials should be assembled in kits and staged in secure areas for the forthcoming work. The storeroom should have a PM program for spare rotating equipment. Processes should be continuously executed:
- First in, first out (FIFO) by using date-stamping practices to address shelf-life
- Obsolescence management with “where used” for all stored items
- Bills of materials in the CMMS
- Accurate nameplate data and item masters for both stock and non-stock items
- An effective storeroom layout based on ABC principles
- Adequate security and item transaction processes
- Minimum/maximum and safety stocking levels
Identifying and Prioritizing the WorkIn the reactive organization, it is common to find that work, especially emergency or urgent work, remains undocumented in the CMMS. Some sites do better with requiring technicians to complete a work order to charge storeroom parts. From a best practices perspective, we look for 90 percent of all work to be planned and scheduled. In many reactive organizations, we find upward of 60-90 percent unplanned work. Every hour spent planning the work saves three to five hours in execution. But to plan it, it needs to be identified in the CMMS. By identifying the work, regardless of whether it is corrective, emergency or urgent, the record provides equipment history. We understand how long an asset is down, the asset reliability, and where we are spending our maintenance dollars. It becomes equipment history for use by the maintenance or reliability engineer to utilize to improve asset reliability and reduce costs overall. Rather than rushing to the tyranny of the urgent, we need to prioritize the work. To reach the 90 percent planned levels, we can’t treat everything as emergency or urgent work. You only have so many resources in each timeframe or shift. We must establish a priority matrix for execution. I was teaching a maintenance planner scheduler course for a large facility. During the time there, I would spend a few hours each day outside of class on a smaller scale effort to educate the production supervisors. I asked a group of 10 production supervisors who each had the responsibility for separate lines of production equipment, “When downtime strikes, who’s line is most important?” They all raised their hands in the air. Maintenance resources are finite on a given shift as a rule. We need to deploy these based on asset criticality (risk) and priority. Here is an example of a priority matrix. Notice that there are three planned work priorities beyond the PMs. This approach allows us to segment our planned work. The concept ensures that we are working on all priorities rather than just a single “routine” work class or priority code where less critical work falls off the radar screen and frustrates the requestor. Their response due to lack of action is to re-enter the work request as “safety” to hopefully guarantee the work completion.
Planning to Ensure Reliability in All Your AssetsPlanned work avoids delays, ensures materials availability and drives the efficiency of the crafts. When I talk about craft efficiencies, I’m not asking people to work harder. I am simply trying to give them the tools, materials and access to the equipment so they can do their job better. From an asset reliability perspective, job plans developed by the planner are written to a specification, i.e., torque values, gaps, fits, clearances, belt tension settings, alignment tolerances, etc. Enforce the use of the standardized work procedures. The intent is to eliminate poor work behaviors and human error. The human error rate is 40 percent on average, not to mention, if everyone is doing it their way, which way is the right way? When you have failures, which way potentially caused the failure? Unfortunately, if organizations have a maintenance planner scheduler position, only about 10 percent of all maintenance planners/schedulers are utilized correctly per the best practices. Often these planners/schedulers have received no formal planning and scheduling training or coaching in the position. I find sometimes 10 to 12 planners/schedulers at sites. These individuals have been in the role for years, sometimes eight years or longer, with no understanding of their roles and responsibilities. Effective planning is a key component to ensuring asset reliability in the short and long term.
Proactive Scheduling for Asset ReliabilityPoor maintenance scheduling practices, or lack thereof, are a measure of the reactivity in the organization. In reactive organizations, partnerships between maintenance and production are limited, and many times siloed. As one example, a recent site where I taught a planning and scheduling course had no formal meeting to share production planning schedules, production requests or maintenance requirements to build a maintenance schedule. The technicians themselves were left to negotiate downtime across many different functions to perform maintenance. The organization was very reactive, and maintenance costs were higher than necessary. As a minimum, there should be a weekly schedule completed in the current week for the following week. Ideally, we prefer better. A forward-looking two-week scheduling horizon. You already know the PMs that will be triggered up to a year or so in advance. These provide the base of the schedule. You also know of engineering projects on the horizon. Add to that the delivery of specific long lead items. Think of it as a conveyor. At the head of the conveyor, items begin to drop on (PMs). As the conveyor advances to the current week, other items drop on the conveyor such as the material deliveries and engineering work. The conveyor continues to move forward to the current week. It’s like time; it doesn’t stop moving forward. Shorter forecast items start dropping on the conveyor. Think of the conveyor discharge as the current week. These items build the schedule for next week. An effective schedule ensures that we have the time to do the work right and reduce potential rework from rushed efforts. Coupling effective planning with scheduling is another driver toward increased asset reliability.
Continuous Improvement Loops to Move ForwardOn work completion, specifically planned and scheduled work, we must have a continuous improvement loop to improve the processes. Many proactive organizations issue a feedback form with the work order package. Using Deming’s concept of the Plan, Do, Check and Act cycle, this piece is the check portion. We get to address the following questions:
- Where you able to complete the job?
- Was the scope of the job correctly identified?
- Was the time estimate appropriate for the work?
- Did we have the right materials?
- Were the listed tasks and specifications correct?
- Is any follow-up work required?
- Did we identify the correct crafts?
Auditing and Measuring for SuccessMuch like the continuous improvement loop, auditing gives us a method to ensure our processes are working as intended. If not, we can adjust based on what we have learned. To audit, you should be randomly pulling three or so completed work orders from the stack. Take the plant manager, maintenance manager, planner scheduler, storeroom coordinator and technician(s) who completed the work. Walk down the job. Was the:
- Work properly scoped?
- Was the asset/component properly identified at the right level (lowest) in the asset hierarchy?
- Was the work planned and the plan correct with tasks, parts and priority as examples?
- Were the parts and materials correctly kitted and staged?
- Was the work completed as scheduled?
- Did the feedback form get properly utilized with adequate closure information?
- Did work order completion and closure occur?
- PM/PdM Compliance
- Schedule Compliance
- Schedule Break-ins
- Inventory Turns by Month